How to Speed Up the Accident Repair Process
August 18, 2023

The vehicle repair industry is currently facing significant delays, increasing the time it takes for insurers to get their customers back on the road post-incident. Here we discuss why these delays are happening, and how insurers can take action to speed up the accident repair process…

What’s causing the current accident repair delays?

Industry-wide challenges are causing delays right across the automotive industry – from manufacturing to repair services. Here are the factors which are most exacerbating accident repair delays:

Parts supply chain issues

Delays in new parts manufacturing are making it difficult for repairers to access the parts and components they need. This means vehicles are often kept at bodyshops for longer while they wait for parts to arrive, overwhelming on-site capacity.

UK-wide repair capacity challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a large number of UK bodyshops close their doors permanently. The industry is yet to recover from this sudden loss of capacity, leaving many bodyshops overbooked, and often exceeding on-site vehicle capacity.

How can insurers speed up the accident repair process?

Despite the pressures currently being faced by the industry, insurers can take action to minimise accident repair delays for their customers, including:

#1 – Harnessing ‘green’ and aftermarket supply chains

Delays in accessing new parts can be mitigated by harnessing ‘green’ and aftermarket supply chains. This includes green parts, such as those recovered from total loss vehicles, and compatible components made by aftermarket retailers.

This helps to reduce the amount of time vehicles spend on-site waiting for parts to arrive, alleviating capacity challenges, and getting vehicles roadworthy quicker.

This is especially useful with cosmetic parts, such as doors or wing mirrors, which can be easily salvaged from total loss vehicles, without impacting the safety of the repair.

Green parts are Thatcham-approved, and often come with extended warranties – making them just as practical as new parts in many circumstances.

#2 – Promoting right-first-time service deployment

Promoting right-first-time service deployment is a core principle for speeding up the motor claims process. This means understanding a vehicle’s repair requirements in full before it arrives on site, and deploying the most appropriate solutions the first time around.

This can be achieved by harnessing qualitative incident reporting data, such as images/videos of a vehicle’s damage, and using these to inform engineering decisions. It’s important to get as much high-quality data as possible at First Notification of Loss (FNOL) stage, as this will help you to identify which services a vehicle needs to be made roadworthy.

Read our guide to achieving right-first-time deployment in motor claims…

#3 – Streamline your incident reporting process

Streamlining your incident reporting process with an eNOL (Electronic Notification of Loss) solution will make it quicker and easier for customers to report vehicle damage as soon as it occurs. Drivers are also able to upload pictures of their vehicles’ damage, increasing the quality of your triage data.

This means repair solutions can be deployed quicker, and more accurately – reducing the time customers spend waiting for the repair process to begin. It also increases the chance of capturing any third parties, allowing insurers to control the costs associated with at-fault claims.

A strong FNOL process is a crucial part of delivering right-first-time service deployment, making eNOL tools a valuable asset for insurers looking to speed up vehicle repair.

#4 – Partnering with EV & ADAS-ready repairers

To avoid unnecessary delays to vehicle repair, it’s important to ensure your repair network includes EV and ADAS-ready repairers.

All new vehicles come with ADAS software fitted as standard, and will need this recalibrating after most repair procedures. Failure to do so will result in the system failing to work properly, exacerbating delays, and compromising the safety of the repair.

Repairers also need specialist safety equipment to work on electric vehicles, such as insulated tools and mats in a dedicated EV-bay.

Having this equipment in-house ensures your repair network is able to easily cater for all vehicle types – minimising the risk of unnecessary delays.

#5 – Using mobile repair for smaller fixes

Mobile repair can be an effective solution for tackling accident repair delays, especially when the work required is purely cosmetic. Using mobile technicians helps to reduce the number of cars on site at bodyshops, alleviating capacity challenges, while providing some customers with a quicker repair solution.

A right-first-time deployment strategy is key to utilising mobile repair. This means using incident data to identify vehicles which may qualify for repair by a mobile technician, and deploying this solution quickly.

This benefits both insurers and their customers – alleviating on-site capacity challenges, while giving customers a more flexible way to have their vehicle repaired. Mobile technicians can often operate from a customer’s driveway or place of work, increasing accessibility.

#6 – Strengthening engineering decision-making processes

The strength of the engineering process is a key factor in promoting right-first-time service deployment, and identifying potential for time-saving opportunities like mobile repair and green parts. It’s therefore crucial to consider when seeking to speed up accident repair in motor claims.

The job of repair engineers is to analyse a vehicle’s repair requirements, identify the services needed, estimate costs, and communicate these effectively to repairers.

Strengthening these processes means ensuring engineers are well-informed with incident/damage data, can communicate with repairers effectively, and have the expertise required to make effective repair decisions.

At Activate Group, we audit our internal engineering processes regularly to maximise their efficiency, and ensure the right repair decisions are being made by all parties. This helps us to create best practice engineering processes that drive speed, efficiency, and accuracy for our customers.

In Summary: Speeding Up Accident Repair

Industry-wide challenges are leading to significant delays in the accident repair process, impacting insurers and their customers alike.

International parts supply chain issues, coupled with the loss of UK repair capacity during COVID-19, are making it harder for repairers to start and complete repairs in a timely manner.

Luckily, there are steps insurers can take to minimise the impact of accident repair delays, including:

  • Harnessing green/aftermarket parts supply chains
  • Promoting right-first-time deployment of repair services
  • Streamlining the incident reporting strategy
  • Partnering with EV and ADAS-ready repair centres
  • Using mobile repair where possible to mitigate capacity challenges

Mitigating these delays promotes a more positive experience for insurance customers, as well as allowing insurers to minimise the costs associated with a lengthy repair process.

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